Fantasy Football Week 17 Rankings: Reviewing Fringe Flex Players and Advice

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Fantasy Football Week 17 Rankings: Reviewing Fringe Flex Players and Advice
Ben Margot/Associated Press

Fantasy football players have one last Sunday to set lineups before closing shop. Without another crack of getting things right next week, nobody wants to make a Week 17 mistake.

Those competing to the very end don't have to worry as much about resting implications. Beware of starting any Washington Redskins, who are buckled into the NFC's No. 4 seed. Everyone else, however, is fair game to normally use.

The flex position has befuddled many managers for 16 weeks, so don't expect an easier decision to end the season. Select players fluctuating from top option to dud prove the toughest ones to rank. Their ranking placement warrants a start in most leagues, but nobody will feel comfortable while hoping this is a game where everything goes right. 

Week 17 Flex Rankings
Rank Standard PPR
1 Devonta Freeman, RB, ATL Antonio Brown, WR, PIT
2 Julio Jones, WR, ATL Julio Jones, WR, ATL
3 Odell Beckham Jr., WR, NYG Odell Beckham Jr., WR, NYG
4 DeAngelo Williams, RB, PIT Devonta Freeman, RB, ATL
5 Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN DeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOU
6 Antonio Brown, WR, PIT Brandon Marshall, WR, NYJ
7 DeAndre Hopkins, WR, HOU DeAngelo Williams, RB, PIT
8 Doug Martin, RB, TB A.J. Green, WR, CIN
9 David Johnson, RB, ARI Allen Robinson, WR, JAX
10 Darren McFadden, RB, DAL David Johnson, RB, ARI
11 A.J. Green, WR, CIN Jarvis Landry, WR, MIA
12 Brandon Marshall, WR, NYJ Adrian Peterson, RB, MIN
13 Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE Rob Gronkowski, TE, NE
14 Allen Robinson, WR, JAX Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN
15 Tim Hightower, RB, NO Calvin Johnson, WR, DET
16 Doug Baldwin, WR, SEA Brandin Cooks, WR, NO
17 Calvin Johnson, WR, DET Doug Baldwin, WR, SEA
18 Charcandrick West, RB, KC Jeremy Maclin, WR, KC
19 Lamar Miller, RB, MIA Eric Decker, WR, NYJ
20 Eric Decker, WR, NYJ Doug Martin, RB, TB
21 Brandin Cooks, WR, NO James White, RB, NE
22 Latavius Murray, RB, OAK Mike Evans, WR, TB
23 Frank Gore, RB, IND Javorius Allen, RB, BAL
24 Jarvis Landry, WR, MIA Tim Hightower, RB, NO
25 Javorius Allen, RB, BAL Jordan Matthews, WR, PHI
26 James White, RB, NE Darren McFadden, RB, DAL
27 Demaryius Thomas, WR, DEN Greg Olsen, TE, CAR
28 Karlos Williams, RB, BUF Emmanuel Sanders, WR, DEN
29 Jeremy Maclin, WR, KC Lamar Miller, RB, MIA
30 Mike Evans, WR, TB Kamar Aiken, WR, BAL
31 Sammy Watkins, WR, BUF Sammy Watkins, WR, BUF
32 Allen Hurns, WR, JAX Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI
33 Eddie Lacy, RB, GB Michael Floyd, WR, ARI
34 Denard Robinson, RB, JAX Delanie Walker, TE, TEN
35 Emmanuel Sanders, WR, DEN Charcandrick West, RB, KC
36 Jordan Matthews, WR, PHI Danny Woodhead, RB, SD
37 Matt Forte, RB, CHI Allen Hurns, WR, JAX
38 Jeremy Langford, RB, CHI Bilal Powell, RB, NYJ
39 Michael Floyd, WR, ARI Latavius Murray, RB, OAK
40 Larry Fitzgerald, WR, ARI Golden Tate, WR, DET
41 Jeremy Hill, RB, CIN Frank Gore, RB, IND
42 Greg Olsen, TE, CAR Matt Forte, RB, CHI
43 Martavis Bryant, WR, PIT Michael Crabtree, WR, OAK
44 Chris Ivory, RB, NYJ Martavis Bryant, WR, PIT
45 Rashad Jennings, RB, NYG Amari Cooper, WR, OAK
46 Kamar Aiken, WR, BAL Gary Barnidge, TE, CLE
47 Delanie Walker, TE, TEN Travis Kelce, TE, KC
48 Bilal Powell, RB, NYJ John Brown, WR, ARI
49 C.J. Anderson, RB, DEN Zach Ertz, TE, PHI
50 Michael Crabtree, WR, OAK Karlos Williams, RB, BUF

Author's Rankings

C.J. Anderson, RB, Denver Broncos

Fred Vuich/Associated Press

C.J. Anderson has teased owners before. The Denver Broncos running back has twice eclipsed 100 rushing yards and found the end zone this season. He followed each outburst with eight uneventful touches, generating 38 yards one time and 54 the other. 

While the 2015 first-round fantasy pick didn't reach triple digits Monday night, he registered his fourth touchdown of a disappointing season. He split the carries evenly with Ronnie Hillman, but he tallied more yards on his 39-yard touchdown run than his backfield mate earned all night:

C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman vs. Bengals (Week 16)
Player Rush Rush YD YPC TD Rec Rec YD
Anderson 9 73 8.1 1 1 8
Hillman 9 35 3.9 0 4 37

ESPN.com

This isn't a new development from Denver's rushing tandem. Anderson is averaging 4.6 yards per rush, putting him right on par with last season's 4.7 average. Hillman lags far behind at 3.9.

As highlighted by Rotoworld's Raymond Summerlin, the production gap has grown even wider throughout the season:

In a post on DenverBroncos.com, Anderson admitted to playing at less than full strength earlier this season.

"It was also a positive that on Monday, I finally felt like I was getting back to getting healthy, which is a good thing," Anderson said. "At the start of the season, I was struggling getting healthy. It was tough. Your body isn’t your body when you’re injured."

Anderson ran far better than Hillman against the San Diego Chargers, but he received seven carries to Hillman's 19. If given a hearty workload against a defense relinquishing 4.7 yards per carry, Anderson would easily rank inside the top 20 rushers while making a case for top-10 consideration. Unfortunately, fantasy players can't assume NFL coaches will make the right moves.

Upside makes him an intriguing flex play, but limited opportunities also cover him in risk.

Amari Cooper, WR, Oakland Raiders

Ben Margot/Associated Press

Amari Cooper started his career with commendable consistency for a rookie. While he frequently hovered between 45-50 receiving yards per game, an uninspiring tally for a high-end wide receiver, the Oakland Raiders' first-round pick had at least established a steady floor.

He has since tore up the carpet and punched holes through the ground. Cooper has compiled 10 yards or fewer in three of his last six games. Yet he also sprinkled in reminders of his star upside, recording 115 yards against the Tennessee Titans and 120 yards and two scores two weeks ago versus the Green Bay Packers.

Per NFL.com, the Kansas City Chiefs have allowed the sixth-most fantasy points to opposing wideouts. They have also, however, yielded the third-fewest points over the last four weeks. Entering the final weekend, only the New York Jets defenses brandishes a lower completion percentage:

NFL Opposing Completion Percentages
Rank Team CMP %
1 New York Jets 56.7
2 Kansas City Chiefs 57.1
3 Green Bay Packers 58.5
4 Buffalo Bills 58.6
5 Houston Texans 59.3
6 Arizona Cardinals 59.3

ESPN.com

When Cooper faced Kansas City a month ago, he found middle ground by collecting four catches for 69 yards during a 34-20 loss. The Chiefs have surrendered 12.3 points per game through their nine-game winning streak, so the Raiders were fortunate to muster that much offense.

Despite recent no-shows, Cooper has corralled 70 catches for 1,050 yards this season, ranking as NFL.com's No. 20 wide receiver. His Week 17 stock takes a hit due to recent struggles and a difficult matchup, so treat him as a No. 3 wideout in standard and point-per-reception (PPR) leagues.

Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers

Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

A top-10 wide receiver entering the season, Randall Cobb ends it as a fringe flex play.

The Green Bay Packers' top wideout continues to crumble amid a floundering offense. He reached a nadir last weekend, registering 15 receiving yards on three targets.

Over/Under: 59.5 receiving yards for Randall Cobb in Week 17?

Submit Vote vote to see results

Disgruntled owners can't blame the bad day on Patrick Peterson. According to ESPN.com's Mike Clay, the Arizona Cardinals cornerback only lined up against Cobb on 12 of 41 routes. Clay also noted Cobb's deteriorating results.

"After sitting fifth among wide receivers in fantasy points through Week 3, Cobb has finished a week better than 25th at the position only once, in Week 9," Clay wrote. "His average finish is 48.3, and he has been outside the top 30 in nine of 12 games in that span."

His last touchdown came on Nov. 22 against the Minnesota Vikings, whom he'll face again Sunday. Don't get too excited, as he recorded two catches for 24 yards that day. Also, five games without a touchdown isn't great for a guy who is averaging 52.8 receiving yards per game.

As a result, he didn't crack the top 50 on the standard or PPR front. He's not far behind, but he's an uninspiring flex play for someone who is paying for targets and brand value. 

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